CHAMPION - Defending champion Avery Rochester and 2012 titlist Carley Saint-Onge stayed in the hunt Monday for the 87th annual Upper Peninsula Ladies Golf Association crown.
The only way for the two Marquette Senior High School graduates to go head-to-head for this year's title at the Wawonowin Country Club, however, would be to meet in the final round set for around 1:30 p.m. today.
That would be just fine with Rochester.
Carley Saint-Onge of Marquette drives from the first tee box during the Upper Peninsula Ladies Golf Association tournament on Monday morning at Wawonowin Country Club in Ely Township. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
"It would be a lot of fun," she said.
On Monday, the pair qualified for this morning's semifinal play by winning quarterfinal matches. Rochester beat Pam Frankini, 7 and 6, while Saint-Onge knocked off Karen Plaisier of Ishpeming, 6 and 5.
UPLGA veteran Nancy Osier of Wakefield, a 3-and-2 winner over Doncie Richards on Monday, was to meet Rochester in the semis.
The other semifinal bracket had Saint-Onge playing Calumet's Zoe Woodworth, a 2-up victor over Cathy Kucherak in the quarterfinals.
"I definitely played a lot better today than Sunday," Rochester said. "My putting was a lot better, my chipping was better and I kept my tee shots straight.
"My approach shots were more accurate, too."
She won the first hole, lost the second to Frankini and the two tied a couple of holes before Rochester went on a run.
"I birdied No. 11," she noted about the par-4, 423-yard hole.
Rochester said she'll have to stay sharp to beat Osier.
"She's a great player. I'll have to stay consistent because you won't win (a hole) with a bogey," the June MSHS grad said.
Michigan State University junior-to-be Saint-Onge, meanwhile, said she had to be wary of Woodworth today to make it to the championship match.
"She's a good chipper and putter," the four-time state U.P. Division 1 prep medalist said of Woodworth.
Saint-Onge added she'd like to play her own game more than pay attention to her opponent.
"It's always in the back of my mind, however, what I'm hitting for or putting for (on each hole)," she said. "In match play, I play the opponent, probably the opposite of what I should do. But that's how I look at it."
Of her play Monday, Saint-Onge said she liked her game.
"I played 3-over-par," she said, adding she was 3-up after nine holes. "I was solid in putting and hit the ball where it needed to be."
Tourney medalist Woodworth said her play Monday was "good, actually."
"My putting wasn't very good, but I was striking the ball well," the 2012 Calumet High School graduate said. "There were a couple of drives I pulled that got me into trouble, but I played pretty well all around.
"It was a good match."
Woodworth held a 1-up lead over Kucherak heading into the final nine and was up by two at the par-5, 385-yard No. 15 tee.
"On my second shot (there), I took a practice swing and knocked off some tree branches," she said. "You can't do that. It can better your next shot.
"I lost the hole, as I was told about it after the next hole."
Woodworth and Kucherak tied 16 and 17, then the former iced the victory by winning the final hole.
The Copper Country golfer said she played against Saint-Onge in high school, but never beat the Marquette product.
"She hits the ball a long way," Woodworth said. "Her whole game is good.
"I just have to play my game against her and not beat myself. My short game is good right now, but I have to make sure my putting is good."
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.